'This Week' Transcript 10-16-22: Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Dr. Anthony Fauci
This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, October 16.
A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, October 16, 2022 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get more on this now from Committee member -- January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST (voiceover): Final hearing.
CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those in favor will say aye.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The January 6th Committee closes out with a surprise subpoena to former President Trump.
REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R-WY): We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Reveals shocking new video of congressional leaders during the riot.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I'm going to punch him out and I’m going to go to jail and I'm going to be happy.
UNKNOWN MALE: Why don't you get the president to tell them to leave the capitol, Mr. Attorney General?
PELOSI: We have got to finish the proceeding, or else they will have a complete victory.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Committee member Adam Kinzinger joins us live.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Americans are squeezed by the cost of living.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Twenty-three days until the midterms, will persistent inflation doom Democrats this November? Pete Buttigieg joins us live, plus analysis from our Powerhouse Roundtable.
And lasting legacy.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NIAID: I want to be remembered as someone who gave everything they had for the public health of the American public.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Anthony Fauci at home. The nation's top infectious disease expert reflects on the pandemic in his exit interview with Jonathan Karl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week." Here now, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS (on camera): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
He lost the presidency nearly two years ago but Donald Trump is still at the center of American politics this week. Now facing a subpoena and possible criminal referral from the January 6th Committee, new questions about obstruction of justice in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, ongoing investigations by the FCC (ph), the New York attorney general, the Southern District of New York, a Fulton County grand jury in Georgia.
All this as the former president rallies for Republican candidates in the midterms and election deniers amplify his false claims in races across the country. We'll speak with January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger.
Senior Investigative Reporter Aaron Katersky starts us off. Good morning, Aaron.
AARON KATERSKY, ABC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: George, good morning to you.
Just when you thought there was nothing more to learn about the final weeks of the Trump administration comes the January 6th Committee with new evidence of what the former president and his associates were planning even before Election Day, but the legal troubles that Trump is now facing go far beyond January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATERSKY (voiceover): The January 6th Committee, quiet since July, this week came out swinging.
PELOSI: I'm going to punch him out and I’m going to go to jail and I'm going to be happy.
KATERSKY: The Committee showed striking behind-the-scenes video of congressional leaders locked down while the mob ran rampant.
CROWD: Bring her out here.
KATERSKY: Desperately trying to secure the Capitol.
UNKNOWN MALE: We need active duty, National Guard.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: All of them did what President Trump was not doing, what he simply refused to do.
KATERSKY: The Committee also provided new evidence Trump planned to declare victory no matter what.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: That doesn't mean he's a winner. He's just going to say he's a winner.
KATERSKY: While privately acknowledging he lost.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: And by the time he incited that angry mob to march on the Capitol, he knew they were armed and dangerous.
KATERSKY: The January 6th Committee said it was time to hear from Trump directly.
CHENEY: We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion.
KATERSKY: Unanimously voting to subpoena his testimony under oath.
THOMAS: Those in favor will say aye.
KATERSKY: Trump pounced in a 14-page letter. He attacked the Committee and questioned its legitimacy without revealing his next move but Trump is potentially facing criminal charges for January 6th. He's also under investigation over the handling of classified material seized from his Florida home.
This week we learned that an employee reportedly told federal agents Trump ordered boxes of documents moved at Mar-a-Lago. The Supreme Court refused to intervene and the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to shut down a third-party review of what the FBI took.
And in New York, a new move by the attorney general, she has already sued him for $250 million. Now she's saying Trump's business may still be engaging in fraudulent practices and trying to divert assets to avoid liability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATERSKY (on camera): Later this month, the Trump Organization is going to go on trial for tax evasion and, George, Trump himself is going to give a deposition later this week in a defamation lawsuit. All of this legal exposure may make it impossible for him to testify before the January 6th Committee.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, "The Washington Post" had a new blockbuster just yesterday. A whistle-blower inside Trump’s new media company.
KATERSKY: And this whistleblower complaint alleges federal securities law violations, it says the Trump media company TRUTH Social tried to raise money based on fraudulent misrepresentations and that Trump himself tried to get one of the founders to relinquish his shares to former First Lady Melania Trump. We know the Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a look at this, so are federal prosecutors here in New York, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Aaron Katersky, thanks very much.
Let’s get more on this now from Committee member -- January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger.
Congressman, thank you for joining us this morning.
Since you all subpoenaed former -- or announced you were going to subpoena former President Trump this week, we saw his first response on TRUTH Social. What did you make of it? He didn't say whether or not he'd testify.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL): Well, I mean it was 14 pages of -- kind of every -- seems like every statement the former president does now is increasing increasingly long and even more rambling, so I don't know. I couldn't glean whatever he got from that.
What I know is this, is, we made a decision and, in front of the American people, you know, not behind closed doors, to – to begin the process of subpoenaing the former president. He’s required by law to come in. And he can ramble and push back all he wants. That’s the requirement for a congressional subpoena to come in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There have been some suggestions that he may be willing, according to associates, to testify live before the committee. Is that something that’s acceptable to you?
KINZINGER: Well, again, I think that’s going to be a negotiation. I have long learned in this that people will say something publicly to – you know, look at the former Secret Service members who claim that Cassidy Hutchinson was lying, when she obviously was not, about, you know, overhearing that conversation of what happened ion the limo. They claim they’d come in and speak to us. They won’t do it. They have yet to come in.
So, I’ll only address that when we know for sure whether or not the president has tried to push to come in and talk to us live.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say he’s obligated by law to respond to the subpoena. Do you believe that the Justice Department, if the president refuses, should hold him in criminal contempt?
KINZINGER: Look, that’s a – that’s a bridge we cross if we have to get there. You know, look, we well recognize the fact that because of the Committee only being able to exist to the end of this congressional year, because that was the – the mandate, we’re at a bit of a time limit here. And as we’re wrapping up the investigation, we’re also pursuing new leads and facts and we’re – we want to speak to the president.
Look, if he – he’s made it clear he has nothing to hide is what he says. So, he should come in on the day we ask him to come in to. If he pushes off beyond that, we’ll figure out what to do next. Granted that, you know, this is not an unprecedented move by Congress, but it’s also, we recognize, this is a big deal. This is a big move.
But the American – this isn’t about us. This is about the American people, George.
Look, what happened on January 6th was terrible. What led up to that and what happened sense is what I'm more worried about. And democracies are not defined by those bad days but how we come back from those bad days. This is that process. This is laying out before the American people what happened and determining we can never do this again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Biden said yesterday that the committee made an overwhelming case. Should we be expecting a criminal referral?
KINZINGER: Look, again, I think the question of criminal referral really doesn’t have much of a point because, obviously, DOJ is morning forward on this anyway. It’s not a mandate but I think it would be – we’re certainly going to address that issue and we’ll have more to come on that when we – when we make that decision. But, regardless, it looks like DOJ has already begun this investigation.
I take a lot of pride in two things. Number one, our mandate is to tell the American people the truth, come up with fixes. I know that my kid and I know that, you know, the craziest conspiracy theories kid in 10 years is going to believe that it was Donald Trump that started January 6th. So, all these conspiracies today will go away, largely because of the work we’ve done.
I also know that the Justice Department appears to be pursuing this pretty hard.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say they will go away, but you’ve got an overwhelming number of Republican candidates for offices across the country this year, House, Senate, secretaries of state, who are amplifying former President Trump’s lies about the last election, basically election deniers. So, the threat is continuing, isn’t it?
KINZINGER: It is, certainly. And, look, I don’t think this is just going to go away organically. This is going to take the American people really standing up and making the decision that truth matters. It’s why I started my organization, Country First, which is country1st.com, to stay I – look, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat because the battle right now is truth and the battle is the preservation of democracy.
And, look, with these deniers out there that can’t even agree on basic facts or will lie to the American people, or people like Kevin McCarthy who have been put in a very important position that refuses to tell the truth because that’s much harder -- or that’s much easier to just lie than to tell the truth and still try to win the speakership.
This is the fight. And I would love to say this was going to happen easily. It’s going to take everybody’s work out there working hard, because I don’t think you want to leave your kids a country off like what we’ve been living in, in terms of how divided it is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you said, the clock is ticking on the committee. What should we expect next?
KINZINGER: Well, right now, look, it’s -- it’s putting those facts together, putting together in more of -- in a deeper kind of way exactly what we know. For instance, the last hearing I did before this last one, we -- it was about an hour and a half long. That could have been about a four-hour hearing. So, you’ll see more of those details. We’ll start to work on recommendations.
And -- and then again, we put out that report. And, really, the torch has been passed, yes, to DOJ, but also to the American people, because we’re saying, here’s what the deal is, now it’s up to you to stop this from, A, happening again, and really take control as a self-governing country. What kind of a country do you want to live in? This is -- this is not acceptable how we’ve been doing it. We can do way better.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Adam Kinzinger, thanks very much.
KINZINGER: Yeah, you bet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this on our roundtable joined by Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, “Associated Press” executive editor Julie Pace, and "New York Times" senior political reporter Maggie Haberman, author of the new bestseller "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America".
Sort of hard to know where to begin this week. But, Maggie, let's pick up where I left off with Aaron Katersky, this report in “The Washington Post”. A whistle-blower from Truth Social, Trump social has come forward, and this is serious for the Trump Organization.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: This is a real problem. There's an ongoing SEC investigation. We know that this entity of his is under a scrutiny and the SEC is playing by real rules. This is not some organization that he can go lobby or negotiate with or use his normal, you know, tricks of the trade.
This bit about pressuring someone to give Melania Trump shares is staggering. It’s very hard to explain away. He has significant legal problems. People should not forget this SEC investigation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Staggering, not entirely surprising.
HABERMAN: No, it was not shocking. But it was certainly noteworthy (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, meantime, we also had in the middle of the week this report that according to someone close to Trump working at Mar-a-Lago, he was told to move the documents after President Trump was under subpoena. That's obstruction.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, yes, and, you know, look, none of us, I think, who know him are surprised. He wanted to keep these documents as a trophy. That's what they were, more than anything.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not leverage of any kind.
CHRISTIE: I don't think so. I think it's much more likely they're a trophy that he walks around and says, look, I’ve got this. I’ve got this classified document or that because remember something, he can't believe he's not president.
He can't believe he still doesn't get these documents, and he needs to display to everybody down at Mar-a-Lago or up in Bedminster during the summer he still has some of those trappings. The replica Resolute Desk in Mar-a-Lago and all the rest of those things are things that are assuaging, you know, his disappointment and his disbelief that he's not the president anymore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know that earlier in the year, when the story first broke, you were saying that the attorney general would face a difficult decision. It’s hard to cross that line --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- to prosecute a former president.
Does evidence of obstruction really change that?
CHRISTIE: A little, but I still don't think, George -- look, if you're the prosecutor, you have to think hard about do I have absolute evidence? They're going to have to really look at this cooperator and see this cooperator as bulletproof in terms of the evidence because any little daylight between what you're trying to prove and who you're trying to prove it with will blow up in this country in a way --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if we see in fact (ph) that’s being moved on camera?
CHRISTIE: Well, that's what I’m saying. Like you’ve got to look -- that corroborates your cooperator, right? So, it’s -- you can't treat it any differently than any other case, but you have to know that it's got to be bang right between the eyes. If you don't have it, you don't bring a case against a former president if it's not right between the eyes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna Brazile, the January 6th committee basically appeared to wrap up. We’re still going to get their report. Coming hard to imagine we're going to see Donald Trump before that committee.
DONNA BRAZILE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, absolutely not. I mean, look, he -- even if he shows up we all know that he's going to practice how to say, I’ll take the Fifth or my attorneys have told me not to talk.
Look, this week, Steve Bannon is going to get sentenced for obstructing Congress, not testifying. I do believe that the January 6th hearings, they're not ancient history. The American people, I think, understand just how important the evidence and the materials that we have witnessed.
And I can tell you as a district resident because we're hearing all of the trials going on in the local courts, this was a serious moment. The Secret Service knew that an armed insurgency was coming into Washington, D.C., and yet they did nothing, at least nothing we knew of so.
I want to go back to this notion, should Donald Trump testify? He should. He should be willing to tell his story. Will he testify? Of course not. Because, you know what, he doesn’t have the truth on his side.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Julie, Donna says this is breaking through to the American public. That’s not appearing in the polls so far. Donald Trump’s poll numbers haven’t changed at all. And you’re not seeing Democrats really use this too much on the campaign trail.
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: You’re really not. And, look, I think the January 6th committee has been incredible in the sense that every single hearing they have had has produced new evidence that we had not seen before up until this – this last hearing. And yet this does not seem to be driving the conversation, particularly on the campaign trail. Democrats are scrambling to try to figure out how they can form an economic message that reaches the needs of voters right now. Republicans, many -- in many of these key states are actually leaning into the idea that this election was stolen, which, of course, it was not. And so that idea that this is creating a historical record, I think, is very valuable. But in terms of the impact that it is having in real time on this midterm election, it is hard to see that right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Maggie Haberman, if so many of these election deniers get elected in 2022, that’s going to mean a lot for 2024.
HABERMAN: I think that is the story that really is actually not getting a ton of attention both for voters and I think just with the crush of information that's happening right now, particularly in the post-Dobbs decision era for Democrat. But, look, the impact of 2022 is going to be in secretary of states in various – in various places, congressional candidates who are going to be approving of the next election and – and voting to certify it in 2024. I think this is where the focus has been for Democrats, or had been for Democrats, and it has moved off it in a lot of ways, but it is going to sneak up on people next year.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: And, George, I think two things. One, I think the January 6th committee, despite some of the really good work they've done, and I agree with Julie on some of the -- bringing out of facts that they've done, was resigned to having a credibility problem because of the membership of the committee and the way that was done. And so there are lots of Republicans across this country who just say, there's nobody there to argue the other side. Kinzinger and Cheney don't argue the other side to the extent that there is some arguments there. And that’s what –
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there’s -- there's no other side on whether the election --
BRAZILE: But, yes, what is the other side, Chris?
CHRISTIE: Look, I think the – I think that you can question a lot of these witnesses who came up and – and test their credibility, Donna.
BRAZILE: Bill Barr?
CHRISTIE: Well –
BRAZILE: You're going to test the credibility of the former attorney general?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, you know what – you know what, you can –
BRAZILE: You're going to test the credibility of the people who were inside the Oval Office advising the president?
CHRISTIE: There are a lot of people –
BRAZILE: Are you going to test the credibility of –
CHRISTIE: Now, I don’t know, Donna, you want to just keep talking or you want me to give – you want me to give the answer?
BRAZILE: No, no, seriously, Chris, what is the other side?
CHRISTIE: You – you -- you can test the credibility of people and by doing that it can give them more credibility. But instead they’re just -- it's a TV production. And that’s the --
BRAZILE: Yes, you're going to test the credibility of the cops who got their heads smashed in. Is that -- that's who you're going to test.
CHRISTIE: No, no, you – no, no, that’s not – no, that – no, that’s not who I'm testing, Donna, but there are lots of people inside the White House who now have convenient memories about things that didn't have memories about them before. You can ask questions about that.
But the second point is this, that the reason this isn't breaking through with voters in 2022 is because Donald Trump’s on the ballot. You know, in the end, what the January 6th committee has made this all about is Donald Trump and his role in January 6th. Absolutely appropriate to make it about that.
But when he's not on the ballot, it's very hard for Democrats to be able to make this a cutting issue, especially in the light of huge inflation, gas prices, crime in the streets, open borders, drug overdoses, those things are things that are affecting people's everyday lives and they don't see it that way.
Now, if Donald Trump’s on the ballot in 2024, then this becomes a whole different matter.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Julie, one of the things we are seeing also with the exception perhaps of Kari Lake running for governor in Arizona, you are seeing major Republican Senate candidates trying to pivot away from this election denialism.
PACE: And I think this gets to what the governor is talking about here. I think as we start to look just ahead of these midterm elections, look at the positioning of the Republican Party as a national party, do they want to be associated with what happened on January 6th? Do they want to stand by the lies about the election? And certainly you do have some candidates, including in these very impactful secretary of state races who are choosing to stand by those lies. But I think broadly there is a sense with the Republican -- for the Republican Party as a whole that they would like to try to shift away.
But I -- I do think that some of the outcomes of these elections, as Maggie says, on a practical level will actually make that difficult.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Got to take a quick break. You guys are going to come back and talk more about the midterms later in the show.
And, up next, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and our ABC News investigation into police funding across the country is coming up later in the program.
PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.: Democrats are working to bring down the cost of things and to talk about around the kitchen table, from prescription drugs to health insurance to energy bills and so much more. If a Republican wins, inflation's going to get worse. It's that simple.
(UNKNOWN): This is a historic inflation crisis. And the American people are smart. They know it's because of Joe Biden working with Democrats in the House and the Senate. There's a fear of what's ahead when it comes to where the economy is headed under Joe Biden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Inflation is the economic story of the week. Let's talk about it with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us this week. We saw President Biden out there saying that he's going to be announcing more steps to take on inflation and particularly gas prices this week. What more can he do?
PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, I won't get ahead of the president, but as you have seen throughout this year, he's taken a number of steps, everything from flexibility on ethanol to the release from the Strategic Oil Reserve, to try to create a little bit of breathing room for families that are paying too much at the pump, also drawing attention to the fact that you've got a lot of corporations that are wildly profitable right now, in what seems to be a larger-than-usual spread between wholesale oil prices and what we're paying at the pump for gasoline.
This is part of a bigger focus that the president has sustained throughout this year on fighting inflation and creating more of that breathing room for American families, which is part of why achievements like the Inflation Reduction Act, lowering the cost of health care, lowering the cost of energy for American families -- it's why that's so important, and it's why we can't turn back on the progress that's been made, especially because we know there's still a long way to go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right now, as you know, those numbers are weighing on Democrats as you head into the midterms, just about three weeks left before the midterm elections. How should Democrats address it?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, look, I think the good policy is good politics. And we have been doing the right thing for the American people with proposals that are -- and achievements, legislatively, that are popular because they make sense. That's true of the infrastructure law, which, having been signed about a year ago, now we're actually out there making these improvements to bridges, roads, airports, things around the country that -- that need work. And I think part of what this administration and this president were elected to do was to deliver on things like that -- same with the Inflation Reduction Act.
I mean, here you had this environment where Americans are facing a lot of pressure because prices are up. And we have ways to bring prices down, on prescription drugs, letting Medicare finally negotiate, capping insulin for -- for those on Medicare at $35 a month, that $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on -- on prescription drugs. And, remember, there are proposals in the Republican Congress right now to reverse all of that, which would mean the premiums and prescription drug costs would go up. And it is exactly the wrong time to do that. It's the wrong time to do anything that would increase costs for health care or anything else for the American people.
We're going to focus on that, focus on the achievements that have been made in this Congress and under this president, as well as the vision for the future.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You didn't mention one of the first achievements, those direct payments to American families in the wake of the pandemic, the expansion of the child tax credit. A lot of Democrats think that your candidate should be speaking more about those accomplishments from last year.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, we are proud of those accomplishments, you know, the things that those accomplishments have done, first of all, contributing to historic job creation under this president, 10 million-plus jobs. That's never happened in this time period in a presidency before in American history.
Remember, we have our challenges right now but when the president took office, we were facing an economy that was at risk of going into freefall. The American Rescue Plan stopped that. And it went directly into easing the burden for Americans, those tax benefits that the Americans got, and it went into projects that are improving communities all around the United States,
I was back in my hometown, saw some infrastructure projects that they're doing there with some of that ARP money. The mayors know what to do with it. Communities know what to do with it. Families know what to do with it.
And I do think we run the risk because there have been so many accomplishments, right, the CHIPS Act that’s bringing manufacturing back to the United States, the PACT Act, getting veterans the benefits they deserve, of course, the infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. On top of that American Rescue Plan, you know, in some ways having achieved so much legislatively makes it hard to talk about all at once because there are just so many accomplishments.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The threat of a recession is still looming. We saw the head of JPMorgan Jamie Dimon said it’s all but certain to be coming in a few months and it's going to be bad. How worried are you?
BUTTIGIEG: Look, it's possible, but not inevitable. And we're doing everything we can to strengthen the foundations of the American economy. And that means a lot on the supply side. Expanding the productive capacity of this country, part of why we do see a lot of pressure on prices is that while demand has come back, Americans have more income because Americans have jobs in this almost historically low level of unemployment, it's been hard for the supply side to keep up.
That's a big part of what we're working on on the infrastructure side, dealing with some of the bottlenecks we have, dealing with some of the constraints that we have in transportation infrastructure that's needed to be upgraded for decades, which is why Washington has talked about doing something about it for decades and under this president, it has finally gotten done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Buttigieg, thanks for your time this morning.
BUTTIGIEG: My pleasure, thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, Jon Karl’s exit interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci reflecting on an extraordinary career of public service and tumultuous days inside the Trump White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We must never lose sight of the fact that the people whom we serve are the HIV-infected people throughout the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States honors Anthony Fauci for his commitment to enabling men, women and children to live longer, healthier lives.
FAUCI: And then we'll get Nina to go back home to Texas to resume a normal, healthy and happy life -- Nina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: After more than 50 years at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci is preparing to step down from government work.
Jon Karl spoke with Fauci at his home in Washington. He joins us now.
Good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George.
Fauci plans to step down after 54 consecutive years at NIH. I visited him at his home. We talked about that remarkable career and the lessons learned from the COVID pandemic.
KARL: Hey, Dr. Fauci. How is it going?
Thank you for welcoming me into your house. I’m sorry we kind of messed things up here.
We caught up with Dr. Anthony Fauci at the home he has lived in for the past 45 years, almost as long as he's worked at the National Institutes of Health.
I vividly remember your very first appearance in the White House briefing room as one of the COVID briefings when a reporter shouted out, interrupted you and asked you to say your name.
FAUCI: I just want to give you a very quick update on the --
REPORTER: Your name please? Could you tell us who are you please?
FAUCI: My name is Dr. Tony Fauci. I’m the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH.
KARL: I suspected that may have been the last time you were asked to identify yourself.
FAUCI: Yeah, I think so. In fact a lot has happened since then. It's been an amazing journey that all of us have been through and still are in actually.
KARL: It was a worldwide pandemic that killed more than a million Americans.
There were a lot of dark days, obviously a lot of deaths. Is there -- was there a day that sticks out to you or a time period that sticks out to you as the darkest?
FAUCI: It wasn't a day. It was a period. I’ve trained a lot of Italian scientists in my lab, many of whom went back to Italy and were in the epicenter of the northern Italy disaster there.
And when I got on the phone and heard them describe what was going on in the ward where they were having people packed up in the hallways and then I said, whoa, we got a real problem here. We have a real, real problem.
KARL (voice over): Dr. Fauci became the face of the government’s response, a pop culture figure and a political lightening rod.
KARL (on camera): (INAUDIBLE) you were –
FAUCI: I'm – exactly
KARL: Deified by some and you were vilified by others.
FAUCI: By some and vilified by the others. I actually thing both extremes, John, are aberrations of a reflect of the divisiveness in our country.
CROWD: Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!
KARL: When did it get all so political?
FAUCI: It got political very, very quickly because we had the misfortune of an outbreak and a double misfortune of an outbreak in a divided society and the triple misfortune of a divided society in an election year. It was a triple whammy.
KARL: What’s -- what's interesting, though, is President Trump actually has consistently took -- taken credit for the vaccine and praised the vaccine.
FAUCI: Yes, it’s wanting it both ways.
KARL: And his -- and his supporters are the – are the bulk of the anti-vax movement.
KARL: It's --
FAUCI: It's weird, don't you think?
KARL: What – yes, what do you make of that?
FAUCI: Well, first of all, the idea of Operation Warp Speed, the – the former administration should be very proud of that.
KARL: How much credit does President Trump deserve for that? I mean he obviously made it a priority.
FAUCI: Well, yes, he -- his administration made it a priority, OK.
KARL: Despite the president or –
FAUCI: No, no, no, he – he went along with it. He went along with it. He did. I mean – I don't want to take any credit away from him. His administration and just as he takes the blame for things in the administration, he should take the credit for things in the administration. That was a positive thing, Operation Warp Speed.
KARL (voice over): Fauci was often at Donald Trump's side at White House Covid briefings, occasionally contradicting the president he served, but he decided to skip the briefing that became the most surreal of all.
KARL (on camera): Where were you when President Trump floated the idea of injecting disinfectant.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that?
FAUCI: I was at the White House, yes. I didn't want to go up on there with this because I had a bad feeling about when Homeland Security brought this guy in, he briefed the people in the Situation Room beforehand. And as soon as I heard it, I said, holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED), this is going to go bad. Why don't I bow out of this one?
KARL: What would you have done if you had been standing by the president when he said that?
FAUCI: Well, I would have to had said, hey, I would have done this.
KARL (voice over): Fauci became the subject of bizarre conspiracy theories and received countless death threats as he was vilified by the right.
KARL (on camera): So, what's the biggest misconception about you?
FAUCI: You know, I don't know, Jon. I think the misconception is that I was misleading people. You know, to say that I, who have been adviser to seven presidents, and have never ever veered one way or the other from an ideological standpoint, and for somebody to say that, you know, I'm --
FAUCI: Yes, political, I mean that's completely crazy.
KARL: Would you take back what you said about masks? Obviously, the guidance changed.
KARL: But you were -- but you were very definitive. You said there's absolutely no reason for people to be wearing masks.
FAUCI: Yes. I mean, sure, if I had to do it over again, of course. I would have analyzed it a little bit better.
KARL: Was it a mistake in so many state, in so many localities, to see schools closed as long as they were?
FAUCI: I think in some – I don't want to use the word mistake, Jon, because if I do it get taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on.
KARL: Well, did it – was it – did we pay too high a price?
FAUCI: I would – yes, I would say that what we should realize and have realized, that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that. This idea that this virus doesn't afflict children is not so. It does. We've lost close to 1,500 kids so far.
KARL: But – but much less than the older population, obviously.
FAUCI: Yes. Oh, of course.
KARL: Yes. Yes.
FAUCI: But you shouldn't discount that it does afflict children. So, it isn't without consequences. If you go back, and I ask anybody to go back over the number of times that I’ve said we've got to do everything we can to keep the schools open, no one plays that clip. They always come back and say, Fauci was responsible for closing schools. I had nothing to do.
KARL: Yes. I mean you’re – you’re – you’re –
FAUCI: I mean let's get down to the facts.
KARL: You’re not the head of a school board.
KARL: But – but – but a lot of schools were – were closed. A lot of -- there was a lot of remote learning.
KARL: It went on for -- in some – in some jurisdictions for the better part of two years.
FAUCI: Right. Exactly.
KARL: And we've seen the impact. We’ve seen what’s happened in terms of lower reading scores, lower math scores.
KARL: And who knows the psychological impact.
KARL: I mean it was a steep cost.
FAUCI: It was. The most important thing is to protect the children.
KARL: So was there a lesson here, future pandemics, that one thing is -- is more of a focus on that, is how can we protect the kids and get them back to school...
KARL: more quickly?
FAUCI: ... do both.
And the way you do that, you get the people who interact with the children to be vaccinated and masked. You provide ventilations in the schools. You try to keep them in the schools safely. The most important thing is to protect the children.
KARL: How long have you been in your current office?
FAUCI: It will -- 38 years, 38 full years.
KARL: And I'm talking the actual physical space.
FAUCI: The same desk, the same chair.
KARL: The same desk, the same place.
FAUCI: I didn't want it to (inaudible) taxpayers' money. I got the same desk.
KARL: The same desk and the same chair.
KARL: I imagine just -- just packing everything up is going to be...
FAUCI: It's going to be -- it's going to take a while.
KARL: And it's going to be -- it has to be emotional?
FAUCI: Of course. Fifty-four years ago I walked onto the NIH -- I drove on to the NIH campus from New York City, as a 27-year-old physician who had just finished his residency training in internal medicine at the New York hospital, Cornell Medical Center.
I have been driving on to that campus every single day, every single weekend, for the last 54 years. So I don't even want to think about what it's going to be like when I drive off the campus for the last time. That idea just gives me chills, just thinking about that.
KARL: How do you want to be remembered?
FAUCI: You know, I want to be remembered as someone who gave everything they had for the public health of the American public, and indirectly for the rest of the world. And I just want people to know that I gave it everything I had. I didn't leave anything on the field. I just, you know, I was all there.
KARL: Dr. Fauci may be retiring at the end of the year, but Republicans have vowed to drag him before Congress to testify in what they say will be a massive investigation into the origins of COVID and the handling of the pandemic.
George, Dr. Fauci says he's fine with that. He will testify voluntarily. In fact, he says that he is the person who has testified before Congress more than any other person alive today, over the course of that 54 years. And we looked into it. I think he's right. I don't think there's anybody who has testified more than Fauci.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is just unbelievable. He walked into the NIH at the age of 27, will walk out at the age of 81.
KARL: Incredible, an incredible career -- the same desk, the same office, for -- for most of that time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he's been a steadying presence in American life over that period of time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl, thanks very much.
Coming up, a look ahead to the next "Power Trip," and more roundtable, when we come back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna Brazile, 23 days to go, just about every one of these key Senate races inside the margin of error.
BRAZILE: That's true, George. And as you all know there's an enormous amount of money that is being spent on television. And I don't want to take anybody off of their job on television but let me just say this and you know this, you know it, it's really about being on the ground, talking to people where they are.
These candidates who are just relying on their ads and not going out where the voters are, it’s going to be a tight election and as you well know, it's about turnout. It's about reaching people where they are and Democrats must understand in the closing weeks they have to put freedom on the ballot because freedom is on the ballot and they have to challenge this assumption by Republicans that, you know, Democrats are afraid to run on their record.
They have to go to the Republicans and say, look, have you raised the minimum wage in the last two years? What are you doing to lower prescription drug prices? I think Democrats still have a good chance of winning this Senate, winning back the Senate, the House is going to be individual races by individual races but we're going to have some surprises that night on gubernatorial races and I want to put that to Chris Christie.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How could (ph) Republicans close this out?
CHRISTIE: They should be talking about how things -- how much things cost at the supermarket, at the gas pump, how people feel unsafe on the streets because of crime, how an open border is leading to fentanyl overdoses all over this country.
If they talk about anything else they're nuts.
Let Donna talk about the freedom on the ballot thing. That's fine because if I had the record that the Biden administration has had for the last two years I’d be talking about that.
This race is going to come down to the Senate to three state, in my view, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. And whoever wins two out of three in those is going to be in a position to be able to have the Senate. And I don't think -- the rest of the races, I think, while you're right that they’re in the margin of error, I think on the ground -- I've been in a bunch of these states, you kind of get a feeling as to which way it's going.
The House I think is a foregone conclusion --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the margin is going to --
CHRISTIE: But George, that goes back to redistricting, right? I mean, there have been so -- there are so fewer seats that are really truly competitive. I think if you look at this country, there's 40 to 50 seats in the House left now that are competitive. And so if Republicans win 20 to 25 of those, which is I think where they'll be, they'll have a 15-seat margin in the House and in the House that's plenty, as you know.
And on the governor's races, I would say this, the DGA, the Democratic Governors Association, is playing defense everywhere.
They're not playing offense in any Republican states except for Arizona. Every other Republican incumbent is outside the margin of error and above 50 percent.
Republicans are playing --
BRAZILE: Well, we’re going to take Massachusetts and Maryland off your hands. Let’s go there, okay?
BRAZILE: You forgot to mention -- hey, hey.
CHRISTIE: Having stolen it from -- having stolen it from you eight years ago and kept it for eight years, we're very, very happy about that.
BRAZILE: Look, Chris, Ohio is also in play.
CHRISTIE: For what?
BRAZILE: Thanks to Tim Ryan.
CHRISTIE: No, no chance.
BRAZILE: Tim Ryan has done a phenomenal job in closing that race in Ohio.
CHRISTIE: No chance.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tim Ryan had a big debate.
CHRISTIE: A hundred bucks on that one with you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We had the debate in Ohio this week. We also had the debate in Georgia, one of the key races that Chris Christie talks about.
PACE: Look, the Georgia Senate race between Walker and Warnock is fascinating for multiple reasons, you know, including many of the allegations, you know, being made against Herschel Walker, but if you think about this Senate landscape right now and the prospect of a runoff in Georgia we could very much end up in the same place we were in coming out of 2020 where the balance of the Senate is resting on a runoff in Georgia.
And I think what's really fascinating about that state right now is in the governor's race, you see Kemp really putting some distance with Stacey Abrams there and how that could then affect a runoff. I think Democrats have to be worried about that situation.
CHRISTIE: And I’ll remind you, George, almost a year ago, on this show, I said when people were burying Brian Kemp and saying he was dead, Trump was going to kill him with David Perdue. I said he was going to be re-elected, and he has shown what an effective, strong governor can mean in a re-elect year.
He did things like take Sonny Perdue out and put him in charge of the chancellor of the university system, gave bonuses to teachers, passed election integrity. Incumbent governors have enormous ability to be able to make a difference in elections.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to see former President Trump down in Georgia and Pennsylvania in the final weeks. What more should we expect from President Trump in these final days?
HABERMAN: I think more of the same. I think you’re going to see him making statements that don't break through as much as they used to, that a lot of these candidates do consider problematic, particularly in these statewide races. You’re probably going to see him go in and do rallies in a couple of other states. There are some candidates who really do want him and there are candidates who really don't.
And so, I think that is going to be something to watch over the next three weeks and then whether he, of course, announces a campaign of his own right after the midterms.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How can you stop him if he wants to go into a state?
HABERMAN: They can't.
CHRISTIE: No, you can’t. Although I will say this, there have been candidates who have been effective in convincing him that if you come here, you will be a distraction and don't distract me, I’m doing well. And I’ve heard of a couple of candidates both gubernatorial and Senate candidates who have quietly sent entreaties to Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I talked to Chris about the margin. The margin is going to matter to Kevin McCarthy. If the Republicans pick up, let's say, 10 or fewer seats, he might have a tough time getting elected speaker.
PACE: Oh, he obviously I think has a battle for the speakership on his hands. And, you know, he is trying to make this case about all of the investigations that he would lead, all of the things he would do to empower some members of his caucus who could be potentially skeptical of him but I do think for him, that margin, how far he can push it out, that’s the crucial metric here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay. Thank you all very much.
Up next, Pierre Thomas with an ABC News investigation into police funding across the nation.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUDOR DIXON (R), MICHIGAN GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: So challenging to bring police officers to a state where the chief executive officer has supported defund the police. We're going to make sure that not only are they supported, but they have the tools they need.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: My opponent is long on rhetoric and short on facts. Every one of us deserves to feel safe in our homes and in our communities. Investing in law enforcement is what we have done and what we need to continue to do to keep people safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Republican Tudor Dixon and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer sparring over police funding during the Michigan gubernatorial debate Thursday.
As that debate continues in campaigns across the country, chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas reports on the reality behind police department budgets, an ABC News investigation conducted with our own stations.
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With less than 25 days left until the midterm elections. The rhetoric in some of the high-profile races is ramping up.
JD VANCE (R), SENATE CANDIDATE FOR OHIO: Streets are exploding with drugs and violence while liberals like Tim Ryan attack and defund our police.
TIM RYAN (D), SENATE CANDIDATE FOR OHIO: Defunding the police is way off the mark. We need more cops, not less.
THOMAS: Among the top issues, crime. With the issue of defunding the police often front and center.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Violent crime is on the rise.
THOMAS: A review of broadcast transcripts shows police funding and similar phrases being used thousands of times in midterm political ads and during candidate appearances. Those ads appear to be breaking through to voters.
MICHELE UPTON, OHIO VOTER: Our servants, our police and our emergency services are doing their job well. They have not been defunded.
PAUL, ARIZONA VOTER: Crime is completely out of control all over this country.
THOMAS: Some conservatives are suggesting rising crime rates are the result of cutting police budgets, but our ABC owned television stations analyzed budgets for more than 100 police agencies and found defunding never happened in most cities.
KIMBERLY DODSON, CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND CRIMINOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIV. OF HOUSTON: I think that defunding the police has been -- at least the terminology has been so shocking to so many people because I don't think that they necessarily understand the nuances of it.
THOMAS: In 83 percent of the budgets we reviewed, funding actually increased by at least 2 percent between 2019 and 2022. And defunding often means different things for different departments. In some cities, funding was shifted to different areas of the police department or to social services, not reduced. But some candidates are hyper focused on appearing tough on crime and supporting police officers.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is promising to protect law enforcement budgets if he's re-elected.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I support our law enforcement by ensuring that they are fully funded.
THOMAS: When we looked at the numbers across Texas, we found all but one of the departments saw budget increases over the last few years.
ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF: Our budget is frozen. Our hiring is frozen.
THOMAS: Disputes over police budgets are also making headlines in local races.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is running for re-election. Earlier this year, he held a press conference to explain that any cuts to his budget would put lives at risk.
VILLANUEVA: People literally are going to die on the streets for lack of us being able to intervene, to stop crime.
THOMAS: But while the sheriff’s share of the county’s overall budget has decreased, he's actually been getting more money every year. In fact, since 2019, the sheriff's department's budget has increased 8 percent.
VILLANUEVA: Good morning, everyone.
THOMAS: When our L.A. station KABC challenged the sheriff, he said it's still a direct defunding because the budget is not keeping up with costs.
VILLANUEVA: It is not politically popular to invest in public safety.
THOMAS: County officials were blunt, saying the sheriff needs to be smarter about managing his department's $3.6 billion budget.
Rashawn Ray studies law enforcement policy and research and says the connection between police funding and crime rates is based more on perception than data.
RASHAWN RAY, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Part of the reason why the defund the police narrative has stayed around is because police officers say it and elected officials say it and people believe and trust them.
THOMAS: For THIS WEEK, Pierre Thomas, ABC News, Washington.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I’ll see you tomorrow on "GMA."
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